Let’s just say that if you’re looking for a crime procedural, or a thriller-mystery, or well, any kind of logical narrative, really, then this show probably isn’t for you.
I think it’s safe to say that if you were to approach this show with a lens that is at all serious, then it’s highly likely that disappointment would be in your future.
If you’re on the market for lots of OTP Cute, though, never mind the (sometimes gaping) flaws in the areas I just mentioned, then the show affectionately known as Smelly Girl just might work for you.
STUFF THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
For the record, here are the top few things that didn’t work for me in this show.
1. The gag comedy
Because lead character Cho Rim (Shin Se Kyung) is passionate about gag comedy and desires to make it a career, we get multiple scenes featuring a full range of gag comedy, from cringe-it’s-bad-like-really-really-bad, to I’m-still-cringing-but-I-guess-it’s-good.
I’ve never been able to appreciate gag comedy, and I suspect I never will. So even when Park Yoo Chun busted out his gag comedy chops and everyone onscreen (and offscreen, too) praised him for how good he was, I cringed anyway, and averted my eyes.
It’s just not my kind of thing, I guess.
2. The ineptitude of the police
To put it plainly, the police in this show are consistently, persistently inept to the point of stupidity.
For a show that’s all about a team of cops working to solve a series of murders, this had a big impact on the show. It took me awhile to (sort of) find a lens that ultimately worked (more about that in a bit), but there were So. SO. Many. Times. that I rolled my eyes (and shook my head. And wanted to hit somebody) because of the inability of our team of detectives to think and act with at least moderate amounts of intelligence and professionalism.
Basically, we get cartoony policing all the way, with bumbling homicide detectives who jump to conclusions all the time, and also wimp out all the time, and have no professional code of ethics whatsoever.
3. Logic generally isn’t strong
There is a general lack of logic in the show, which resulted in an oddly surreal flavor overall. I sometimes felt like I was watching a dream sequence coz the logic flow was so weird, and I kept feeling like someone ought to be waking me up anytime, since it all felt so surreal.
Like the scene in episode 5, when Moo Gak (Park Yoo Chun) rushes in on Dr. Chun (Song Jong Ho) to accuse him of killing his sister, just like that.
Shout-out, too, to that entire chase sequence involving Cho Rim and the murderer in the same episode. From the murderer pulling a knife on Cho Rim in broad daylight, to Moo Gak knowing exactly where to find her even though her text gave no location, AND she was still on the run.
Or how about the time in episode 11, when Cho Rim wants to regain her memories to catch the murderer, and asks Lieutenant Yeom (Yoon Jin Seo) to keep everything from Moo Gak, WHILE requesting that Lt. Yeom take him back on the team. Uh. This makes no sense at all. Like, how does Cho Rim expect Moo Gak to be kept in the dark about her involvement while he’s being brought back on the case, when she herself is the central witness to the case??
And how about that time in the same episode, when Cho Rim gets the text from her dad (Jung In Ki) to go pick him up, which gives his location as Jae Hee’s (Nam Goong Min) address? Surely Cho Rim would recognize the address, having been to the house multiple times before? And failing that, when she arrives at the house, surely she would know it’s Jae Hee’s house, and then SURELY she would wonder what on earth Dad is doing there? Especially since Lieutenant Yeom has by this point told her how she’s suspicious of Jae Hee?
Seriously. There were actual times when I felt convinced that the writers had gotten very, very drunk, and had carried on writing anyway.
For a long stretch while watching the show, I struggled to find a viewing lens that worked.
Show actually started off pretty decently in how it managed to give us movement on the Barcode Murder cases and allowing the characters and their relationships room for development, all while keeping the show light. That’s no small deal. And, in spite of the murder context, the sweet moments between Moo Gak and Cho Rim didn’t feel out of place, which is more than I can say for other shows trying to mix murder with romance (My Secret Hotel, for example).
By episode 10, though, I’d lost all interest in the serial murderer arc, thanks to the illogical and haphazard writing.
In the last stretch of the drama, though, I had a Realization. And that is, that this show isn’t made for crime-solving, it’s made for drama. And drama that’s as high as they can take it, too.
By the final episodes, whenever the scene had anything to do with the murderer, Show literally felt like classic high melodrama, with all of its characters’ exaggerated reaction shots and the pulsing orchestra music in the background (example above). It felt like unadulterated classic soap, at those times.
When it wasn’t being a classic soap (ie when the focus wasn’t on murder but on romance), though, Show went really heavy-handed with the sugary sweet couple moments.
With all of these disparate pieces at play, the tone of the show swung wildly between a sort-of crime story, to high-drama soap, to cutesy rom-com.
My Realization about Show’s tone didn’t make it any less uneven or any less weird, but I felt like I at least had a couple of ready lenses ready for whatever Show decided to serve up. Plus, with the expectation of high-drama soap, I no longer had any expectations around intelligent policing. Which helped. Sorta.
THE MAIN DRAW
In a nutshell, the main draw in this show is the fact that Yoo Chun and Shin Se Kyung are really cute together.
They share a chemistry that’s warm and layered with spark, and despite some smatterings of stiffness, their interactions generally feel natural and organic, which makes the romantic scenes quite melty. As a bonus, both of them have excellent comic timing, which makes for good shared comic scenes too.
Show understands that OTP Cute really is its main draw, and consistently serves up good solid stretches of Moo Gak and Cho Rim being sweet and quite adorable together. Yes, sometimes the cute is heavy-handed and sometimes that did make me cringe, but overall, I found Moo Gak’s and Cho Rim’s interactions quite enjoyable.
In particular, I liked how naturally handsy they seemed with each other, and I especially loved Moo Gak’s tender tone of voice during some of their cozier moments. So melty.
Here’s a small screenshot spasm of ’em, since they really are the main reason I finished the show:
THE SHIRTLESS BONUS
To be honest, Nam Goong Min is not one of my favorite actors. I mean, he always seems to be playing minor variations of himself. He never feels like an actual character, in that sense. He always looks the same and dresses about the same, and speaks the same, and basically is the same.
On a tangent, I was quite amused at how Nam Goong Min seems to keep showing up in murder-mixed-with-romance shows, and in second lead position too (he was also second lead in My Secret Hotel).
More to the point, though, Nam Goong Min unveiled some seriously ripped muscles in his shirtless scenes in this show, and I couldn’t help but give ’em a decent shout-out, at least.
Pretty impressive, eh?
Now if only he’d actually have an acting breakthrough, to go with. 😛
CLOSING THOUGHTS [MINOR SPOILERS]
In its final stretches, this show made me zone out, but I enjoyed it just enough to want to finish it.
Yes, the final episode felt more like an exercise of going through the motions, not only for the murderer arc – where we get resolution but no real answers – but also for our OTP, where the cute is served up to establish the fact that they never will get to go on a real honeymoon, not when they’re both needed in that highly unprofessional detective world where random people can join the homicide team in interrogating suspects and solving cases.
In the end, to get myself to the finish line, I simply stopped questioning everything, and just resigned myself to the fact that these things really don’t matter in this world. In this world, OTP Cute is what really counts.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Mildly cute, though highly illogical.
FINAL GRADE: C+
Since the OTP Cute is basically the main draw of the show, here’re a couple of light couple-centric vids for ya: